Can It Be Ignored?

Another Saturday and another day of mental purges…..I take the weekends to stay away from news of any sorts as a way to clear the mind for the coming week…..I admit that it is harder to do than one may consider especially if you are a wonk like myself and feel the need to stay abreast of current events.

I gotta get a little history in…..today in 1913 the 16th amendment became law….allowing an income tax…..

I have considered in the past, especially after the election of Trump, to push away from all news for an extended time….and I considered the consequences of such a move and chose to put it out of my head.

Then I read an article by someone who tried to go a week with the silliness of the MSM…..his experience is list in this article…..

My point: I wanted to see what I could learn about the modern news media by looking at how thoroughly Mr. Trump had subsumed it. In one way, my experiment failed: I could find almost no Trump-free part of the press.

It is inescapable!

Go now and enjoy your day….be well, be safe…..chuq

Closing Thought–23Feb17

There are news stories that are just not important enough to make the evening news….but yet some moronic celeb never has his jersey stolen and it is updated for days…..

In the past I have written about nuclear accidents and other stories that could be a problem for the world in the near future….we all know about Fukashima and that is bout it for nuke mistakes…..but there is nuclear material missing around the world that could make it into a dirty bomb or other weapon….

I try to help my readers stay attuned to these incidents with the hope they they will stay alert and safe…..

I read another report that did not make it into the news…….this time it is Northern Europe……

As mysterious radiation spread over the Arctic and south into Europe last month, conspiracy theorists quickly claimed Russia had restarted nuclear testing at Novaya Zemlya, the Drive reports. But the truth is—probably—a lot less menacing. According to the Independent Barents Observer, a spike in the radioactive isotope Iodine-131 was first measured on the Norway-Russia border in mid-January. But the spike wasn’t made public until later, when it reached France, Science Alert reports. The levels of Iodine-131 weren’t high enough to be a danger to the public, but the isotope is usually connected to nuclear fission, so concern abounded. That concern only deepened when the US, with no explanation, sent its nuclear “sniffing” aircraft to Europe.

Despite the alarm, the radiation bloom probably wasn’t caused by a nuclear explosion. First, there was no seismic activity to go along with the radiation spike. Second, no other radioactive isotopes spiked besides Iodine-131, Motherboard reports. And while a nuclear explosion—or accident—is still a possibility, Norway’s radiation protection agency believes the likely culprit is a pharmaceutical company working with Iodine-131, which is used to treat cancers. It’s still unclear where the radiation originated, with officials only narrowing it down as far as “Eastern Europe,” but medical companies that work with Iodine-131 all have detectors for a leak. So it seems someone out there knows what happened but isn’t talking.

They still no idea where it came from or why…..

Closing Thought–21Feb17

To Bot Or Not To Bot?  That is the question.

If you spend too much time on the ‘net then I am positive that you have run into a bot or something similar…..my Spam folder is usually full of bot replies to my posts….I am sure that everyone that has a blog will have them lurking about….I have even heard that there are bots that reply and almost sound human….but if I think it is a Bot I will reply in some way that will expose it…..

Yes, Bots are a pain in the ass…..I have seen all the “fake news” stuff and all the angst about the MSM….some of it I agree with and others I find just a reach at best….but I read something that I found disturbing….especially when it applies to journalism…..

When Republican Steve King beat back Democratic challenger Kim Weaver in the race for Iowa’s 4th congressional district seat in November, The Washington Post snapped into action, covering both the win and the wider electoral trend. “Republicans retained control of the House and lost only a handful of seats from their commanding majority,” the article read, “a stunning reversal of fortune after many GOP leaders feared double-digit losses.” The dispatch came with the clarity and verve for which Post reporters are known, with one key difference: It was generated by Heliograf, a bot that made its debut on the Post’s website last year and marked the most sophisticated use of artificial intelligence in journalism to date.

When Jeff Bezos bought the Post back in 2013, AI-powered journalism was in its infancy. A handful of companies with automated content-generating systems, like Narrative Science and Automated Insights, were capable of producing the bare-bones, data-heavy news items familiar to sports fans and stock analysts. But strategists at the Post saw the potential for an AI system that could generate explanatory, insightful articles. What’s more, they wanted a system that could foster “a seamless interaction” between human and machine, says Jeremy Gilbert, who joined the Post as director of strategic initiatives in 2014. “What we were interested in doing is looking at whether we can evolve stories over time,” he says.

Source: What News-Writing Bots Mean for the Future of Journalism | WIRED

What will all those op-ed writers do?

Since I am by NO stretch of the imagination a techno geek….I would hope that some of my readers that are more knowledgeable than I chime in here with some techno stuff…..

Any thoughts you would like to share?

Go now…the day is young…see you guys tomorrow….chuq

What Is Morocco Up To?

Today is President’s Day…..where we Americans celebrate all those men that served as leader over the years….

After I graduated from university I went to Tunisia and applied for a job with the UN as an analyst…..did not get the gig some dude with lots more letters after his name got the call.

Not the end of the story I was then approached by a Spanish newspaper to be a researcher/analyst and so began my 4 years of work in the Middle East and North Africa.

I was assigned to Rabat Morocco and was researching a story on the annexation of Western Sahara…I was granted an interview with one of the leaders of the opposition, the Polarsio and spent 2 weeks among the people of Western Sahara….great people.

Since those days I have been watching and writing about the struggles of Western Sahara…..

Source: Where Is Western Sahara? – In Saner Thought

Source: Meanwhile Back In Western Sahara – In Saner Thought

Source: Armed Conflict Could Return To Western Sahara – In Saner Thought

Just a little background for Morocco is making news these days…..they have rejoined the African Union (AU) after a 33 year absence….and some are asking….why now?

Morocco is ready to raise its global stature, flexing its muscle before the world by joining the African Union (AU) and making clear what it can offer — or withhold — in the areas of finance and security.

The country’s investments, security and migration control will remain its power points with which to bargain for political support from the West, which in turn wants a greater presence in Africa.

Morocco wants to put to bed international friction over its decadeslong battle with the Polisario Front independence movement over disputed Western Sahara territory recognized by some countries as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). In fact, Morocco left the AU’s predecessor, the Organization of African Unity, in 1984 to protest the group’s admission of SADR.

But now Morocco is back.

Some are questioning this move by Morocco…..is it more about trying to salvage their claim to Western Sahara than anything else?

King Mohammed VI’s new African policy reflects the Moroccan monarch’s pragmatism and realism. While in the past, Morocco had adopted a disastrous “empty chair” policy, the new policy is proactive and positive for the outlook of Morocco’s territorial integrity and the controversy it is facing over the Western Sahara.

Owing to Morocco’s absence from the African Union (AU) over the past 33 years, Morocco’s rivals, mainly Algeria and South Africa, have been using the pan-African body to push their self-serving political and ideological agendas.

The two countries have seemingly dominated the organisation and attempted to use it as a tool to weaken Morocco’s position with regard to the Western Sahara.

Source: Moroccan pragmatism: A new chapter for Western Sahara | Morocco | Al Jazeera

This situation will be an interesting one for us IR geeks….what will be the future of Western Sahara?  Who holds the keys?

Reiteration At Its Best

Same Song Different Day.

I did something yesterday that I am not proud of doing….I watch Trump’s latest “I am the greatest tour”…his 75 minute press conference.  This is my first and definitely my last Trump news conference unless something major is about to happen….I had never heard such egocentric babbling in a very long time.

Before I go…..let me give you a short synopsis of the time in Hell…..the lines that got the most chuckles out of me.  I did not listen for policy but rather the tone and the words…..I was not disappointed….just a list of the lines that I found laughable.

President Trump held forth with reporters at a lengthy news conference Thursday afternoon, defending his first weeks in office and again going after the media over “fake news.” A sampling, via the Washington Post, the Guardian, and the New York Times:

  • On his White House: “I open the paper and I see stories of chaos, chaos. It’s the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine, despite not being able to get my Cabinet approved.”
  • On his progress: “I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we have done.”
  • On the travel ban: “We had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban, but we had a bad court. We got a bad decision.”
  • A swipe at Obama? “To be honest, I inherited a mess. It’s a mess. At home and abroad, it’s a mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country.”
  • On Michael Flynn: The ousted NSA chief is a “fine person,” but “he didn’t tell the vice president of the United States the facts. And then he didn’t remember. And that just wasn’t acceptable to me.”
  • On the media: “The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people. The press are out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control.”
  • On Russia: The Russia story “is a ruse. … I have nothing to do with Russia.”
  • On leaks/fake news: “The leaks are real, but the news is fake.”
  • To an African-American reporter: “Are they friends of yours?” when she asked about the Congressional Black Caucus.
  • On “dreamers”: “We are going to deal with DACA with heart,” he said of the Obama program to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the US as kids.
  • On himself: “I’m not a bad person by the way. … I do get good ratings.”

Don’t fret, you Trump worshipers, there will plenty of others that will contradict me…..and they you will believe….(go figure)…..

After only a month and I have had enough foolishness from the White House….

Again the movie “Idiocracy” comes to mind……

Closing Thought–16Feb17

Obama Did It!

God knows that I was a staunch critic of Obama while president….but I will have to just laugh at the conspiracists have to say these days…..

One of the biggest jokes in the conspiracy queue is Alex Jones….I have a hard time taking anyone that cites him as a reliable source seriously….he is on the “shadow government” bandwagon…..

Furious about national security adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation, Alex Jones posted a video commentary this morning warning about the threats President Trump is facing from what Jones described as a demonic conspiracy out to destroy him.

While railing against a Foreign Policy article (which he misattributed to Foreign Affairs) about the Russian government’s view of Trump, Jones said that there is a plot to sabotage both Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin over their efforts to stop globalism.

Among the plotters, according to Jones, is Barack Obama, whom he accused of living in a “bunker” in Washington, D.C., where Jones believes he is personally directing and “recruiting with [George] Soros an army for a Bolshevik-style revolution.”

We all have seen the numerous protests that are sweeping the nation….anti-Trump protests that is….if you read any Right leaning websites then you probably already know that these protesters are getting paid or the better oner is Obama is behind them……

Fox News, fringe media outlets, and fake news purveyors echoed New York Post columnist Paul Sperry’s claims that former President Barack Obama is establishing a “shadow government” through his nonprofit organization Organizing for Action (OFA), with an “army of agitators — numbering more than 30,000” — to organize protests against, and to “sabotage,” President Donald Trump. Sperry has a history of pushing falsehoods, misleading claims, and anti-Muslim conspiracy theories. A similar claim about an Obama “shadow government” was also made on Fox by discredited author Ed Klein in December 2016.

Paul Sperry: Obama Creating “Shadow Government” To “Sabotage” Trump, And His Organization “Helped Organize Anti-Trump Marches … Some Of Which Turned Into Riots.” New York Post columnist Paul Sperry wrote that former President Barack Obama is creating “what will effectively be a shadow government” to “sabotage the incoming administration” with “an army of agitators — numbering more than 30,000.” Sperry claimed that “activists” involved with Obama’s nonprofit, Organizing for Action (OFA), had already organized “anti-Trump marches across US cities, some of which turned into riots.” From the February 11 column:

Source: Pro-Trump Propaganda Outlets Are Blaming An Obama Shadow Government For Massive Anti-Trump Protests

And now the Trump incompetency is all Obama’s fault….according to a Trump supporter……

The Trump White House is clearly leaking like a sieve, and right-wing apologists, like ex-Navy S.E.A.L. Carl Higbie continue to carry water for Trump by blaming the Obama White House staff leftovers. He was on with Stephanie Ruhle, who follows Morning Joe weekdays.

RUHLE: You think that maybe there’s people in there who are patriots saying, I have to figure out a way to get the truth out?

You’d think a Navy S.E.A.L. would expect a General to be tough, but not Carl Higbie, He is worried that people are picking on poor Mikey, the same guy from this appalling RNC Reichstag-style speech.

Higbie, by the way, is auditioning as a potential replacement for Sean Spicer, some say.

HIGBIE: Or people with crosshairs on Mike Flynn, you don’t know. we have enormous leaks coming out of the White House. this is indicative of politicos, Obama leftovers, we call them them we bes, we be here when you come and we be here when you go. The loyalists. Donald Trump needs to find out who is loyal, who is a political.

Source: Malcolm Nance Smacks Higbie Down: ‘We Swore An Oath To The U.S. Constitution’ | Crooks and Liars

Sorry I have a problem with all this bullshit.  I expect more from a group that demands accountability from others but not their president…..(there is a name for that)……

Americans cannot come up with an opposition on their own….they need someone to tell them what is wrong…..is that about it?

In 2008 there was the rise of the Tea Party…remember?

Was that a plan by the Bush2 group for a “shadow government”?

But there is a new kid on the streets……

Source: Pro-Trump Propaganda Outlets Are Blaming An Obama Shadow Government For Massive Anti-Trump Protests

This gets more humorous by the day and it has only been about 4 weeks since the new guy raised his hand…..gonna be a long 4 years….how much juvenile crap will the American people stand?

‘Blackwater Air’

Like a bad penny they just keep turning up.

I have written many posts about the private army of mercenaries that use to be called Blackwater….after their problems with civilian deaths in Iraq Blackwater changed its name to Xe and fell off the grid…..but they really did not go anywhere….except back to war…..

Now they are an air force for hire….in Libya and now by US Special Forces……

I wrote about the re-surfacing in Libya……(there is lots of background in this post)

I have been a critic of the so-called “security contractors”….these people are nothing more than mercenaries….hired soldiers to fight wars for the rich and powerful…..…

Source: From The Ashes – In Saner Thought

A report has come out that “Blackwater” is now being deployed in the Central African Republic……

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Sikorsky helicopter that The Daily Beast’s source observed in Central African Republic belongs to Illinois-based EP Aviation, LLC.

EP Aviation was once a subsidiary of Academi, the Virginia-based company that was formerly known as Blackwater. The “EP” stands for “Erik Prince,” Blackwater’s founder and the younger brother of billionaire U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. (Does this mean that Trump has a private army at his disposal?)

Source: ‘Blackwater Air’ Is Back, and Flying for U.S. Special Forces – The Daily Beast

Once again the private army/ air force of mercenaries returns after many name changes to keep their activities off the grid….they are back in action and this time as part of our Special Ops activities.

Modern day Hessian……mercenaries in service to empire…..